LOS ANGELES — The Colorado Rockies shuffled their rotation so two left-handed pitchers, Kyle Freeland and Tyler Anderson, would start this week against the Dodgers. The Cubs lined up their lefties when the Dodgers visited Chicago last week, too.
It’s a pattern the Dodgers expect will continue until their record against left-handed starters turns around. They were 2-5 against southpaws and 5-2 against righties through Monday. Last season, they were 22-24 against lefties, 69-47 against righties.
One man with plenty of potential to reverse the trend can’t do a thing about it.
“Yeah,” Franklin Gutierrez said Tuesday. “It’s hard.”
Gutierrez was the cleanup hitter in the Dodgers’ April 10 game against the Chicago Cubs. He drew a walk in his only plate appearance that day against Jon Lester, was caught trying to steal second base, strained his hamstring and hasn’t played since.
When Gutierrez signed a one-year, $2.6 million contract Feb. 20, he understood his role. A huge part of it was helping the Dodgers become an above-average team against lefties. His career .844 OPS against lefties dwarfs his .651 OPS against righties, forged over parts of 12 seasons.
Gutierrez’s continued absence puts an asterisk on the Dodgers’ plight. They’re not playing with a full deck.
For Gutierrez, who hasn’t played more than 100 games in a season since 2010, the rehab process is simply “boring.”
“Being injured throughout pretty much my whole career, I know how it feels,” he said. “I’m doing the most I can to get back as soon as I can. I’m doing all the exercises they tell me to do. It’s important for me to feel good and support the team, even from the bench.”
Manager Dave Roberts said the plan calls for Gutierrez to travel to Arizona with the rest of the club Thursday, face live pitching Friday at Camelback Ranch while the Dodgers play the Diamondbacks, then “potentially” play a rehab game with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday.
Gutierrez still hasn’t been cleared to run the bases. He believes that might happen in the next two days.
That’s too late to help the Dodgers against the Rockies but Gutierrez is taking the long view.
“It’s a long season,” he said. “It’s just the first month. I know there’s going to be a lot of lefties coming up throughout the whole season. I’ll be ready for that.”
CAN’T BURY FIELDS FOREVER
Four days after Josh Fields was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, the right-handed reliever returned to the Dodgers. Left-hander Grant Dayton was placed on the 10-day DL with a left intercostal strain.
With Alex Wood moving back to the starting rotation, the Dodgers currently have one left-hander (Luis Avilan) in their bullpen.
Fields, 31, made four relief appearances for the Dodgers in his first stint with the big league club, tossing three scoreless innings and striking out six batters, while allowing only two baserunners to reach base via a walk and a hit.
Dayton, 29, pitched…